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Laser cutting & engraving parameter setting guides

Find video demos for CNC Routers, CO2 Lasers, Fibre Lasers and more. Keep this page bookmarked as we update it on a regular basis.

Starter Settings

Please note. These are basic guidelines only,  giving you a better understanding of the parameters to use or start with. There are lots of factors that can affect guide figures and parameters such as material types (by manufacturer), environment and age of the tube.

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40W Laser

You can typically cut up to 5 mm acrylic, 6 mm soft woods using a 40w laser. A basic rule with cutting acrylic – the slower the cut, the nicer the edge, so if you reduce the speed enough you can achieve a smooth polished edge. 

Other Engravable Materials (40W)

60W Laser

You can typically cut up to 8mm acrylic,  up to 8mm soft woods using a 60w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines . 

Other Engravable Materials (60W)

80W Laser

You can typically cut up to 10mm acrylic, and up to 9 mm soft wood using an 80w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines. 

Other Engravable Materials (80W)

120W Laser

You can typically cut up to 15 mm acrylic, and up to 12 mm soft wood using a 120w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines. 

Other Engravable Materials (120W)

150W Laser

You can typically cut up to 20 mm acrylic, and up to 15 mm soft wood using a 150w laser. Use the speeds and powers calculator below to give you indicative figures to test on your material making sure you follow safety guidelines. 

Other Engravable Materials (150W)

Laser Cutting & Engraving – General Tips

Acrylic

When cutting acrylic on a CO2 laser you will always achieve better results when using cast acrylic as opposed to extruded
acrylic. We always recommend you purchase cast acrylic when laser cutting as you will find using cast acrylic will get you
better results than extruded acrylic.

Wood

Always remember to check the air regulator is fully open when cutting wood; the more air blowing onto the wood’s surface, the cleaner the finish and less burning.

Engraving Laminate

When cutting acrylic on a CO2 laser you will always achieve better results when using cast acrylic as opposed to extruded
acrylic. We always recommend you purchase cast acrylic when laser cutting as you will find using cast acrylic will get you
better results than extruded acrylic.

Paper & Card

Always remember to check the air regulator is fully open when cutting wood; the more air blowing onto the wood’s surface, the cleaner the finish and less burning.

Fabric

There are many variations of fabrics and textiles which can be cut on a CO2 laser, such as leather, denim, silk, netting and
more. It is difficult to determine the exact speed/power setting for each material – it is a game of trial and error. We advise
using a scrap piece of material and cutting a small square or circle until you fully cut through the material with a clean finish.

For tough fabrics like leather, start cutting at a speed of 25 mm/sec and 30% power.

For finer fabrics such as silk, cotton, netting etc try 50 mm/sec and 15% power.

Other Engravable Material Types

There are a variety of materials which cannot be cut on a CO2 laser, but you can still engrave them.
Please see examples of materials that can be engraved only below:

Granite – Marble – Slate – Glass – Anodised Metal – Ceramic

As these are tough materials, a high amount of power is needed to engrave past the surface and mark the material, please use the below settings as a rough starting point.

Glassware – If you lay a wet piece of kitchen roll on top of the glass to keep it cool this reduces the flaking and will help to create a smoother, higher-quality finish. Turning off the air compressor can also help. 

Metals – You can engrave onto some metals that do not have an anodised layer with the assistance of a thermal marking
spray or tape, there are many of these available but Cermark seems to be the most popular.

Materials To Avoid:

There are a few materials which produce toxic fumes when cut on a laser machine, these include but are not limited to Polycarbonate and PVC. Any material containing chlorine is also toxic.

It is normally apparent if a material is toxic, as when cutting, the material will produce a thick brown/green cloudy smoke
which has a very powerful smell.

If you have any concerns regarding the materials you are cutting or how to extract them safely please consult a filtration and extraction specialist. 
Alternatively, your material supplier should also be able to advise you.

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Mantech (UK) Ltd
Heywood Wharf, Mucklow Hill, Halesowen B62 8DJ

Tel: 0121 541 1444
Company no: 04147199

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